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I just tried to make yogurt and ended up making something else (the question is what). I just finished the process of bringing the milk up to 180 f and then bringing it down to 110 f and was ready to add my starter when I opened up the pot and realized that the milk had already solidified and separated completely into a custardy yogurt like substance and whey. I tasted the result and it seems OK but its not sour (and definitely not yogurt).

FYI, I added powdered milk and was using 1/3 1% and 2/3 0% Milk. All milk was fresh and pasteurized.

Questions:

  1. What did I make and is it edible?
  2. What did I do wrong?

Thanks

  • I expect the curd you produced was thinner and more fragile than regular yogurt? – Sobachatina Apr 24 '18 at 19:47
  • Not by much so I broke it up as much as possible without breaking out the immersion blender and then I inoculated as per your suggestion. I'll let people know how it turns out. Thanks. – HDA Apr 24 '18 at 20:27
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The point of heating the milk to 180F (and then holding it there for a few minutes) is to denature some of the milk proteins so they will participate in the yogurt structure and improve the texture.

You wrote that you added milk powder. This is a good thing because it adds extra protein. It is perfectly reasonable for there to be enough protein that simply heating it will form a loose curd. Acidifying the milk would produce a more firm structure for yogurt or cheese, etc.

Milk can also curdle prematurely if it has accidentally acidified already. For example if it has started to spoil from a mixture of wild bacteria. If your milk is of questionable freshness then I would recommend throwing it out to be safe.

If you are confident that your milk is fresh and has been handled well, and if the curd is fragile and tastes like milk, I would recommend inoculating it and fermenting it for yogurt as normal.

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    Result: After a 14 hour fermentation, it came out as weak yogurt (not particularly sour or firm). I credit this to the bacteria not being able to easily enter the existing "curd". I'm going to strain it and leave it in the oven at around 105 to see if it further ferments. Thanks. – HDA Apr 25 '18 at 11:29

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